The most common type of legacy gift is a charitable bequest or gift by Will. This may be a cash donation or even a gift of property such as real estate, a work of art or publicly listed securities.
A bequest to a charity is very easy to put in place and can be modified at any time. In addition, the tax receipt the charity issues may result in a significant tax credit on your final income tax return. (Your estate may claim donations of up to 100% of your net income for the year of death and the year preceding death.)
Types of bequests
In a specific bequest the donor indicates that the charity is to receive a specific dollar amount, or a specific piece of property, such as real estate, stocks, bonds, or art.
A residual bequest gives the charity all or a portion of the donor’s estate after all the debts, taxes, expenses and other bequests have been paid.
A contingent bequest takes effect only upon the occurrence of some other event. For example, you may choose to make a charity the contingent beneficiary in the event that others named in your Will predecease you.
If you don’t have a Will there is no mechanism in place to make a bequest and your assets may not be distributed the way you would have liked.